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Intercultural Dialogue: a task for democratic governance

Working Definition
(based on the "Sharing Diversity" project, ERICarts Institute 2008):

Intercultural dialogue is a process that comprises an open and respectful exchange between individuals, groups and organisations with different cultural backgrounds or world views. Among its aims are: to develop a deeper understanding of different perspectives and practices; to increase participation (or the freedom to make choices); to ensure equality; and to enhance creative processes.

From the point of view of the cultural sector, intercultural dialogue within a country involves  public and private cultural / artistic initiatives which bring together individuals/groups from minority/migrant communities together with the majority population in order to enter into a multi-directional communication process.

Such dialogue ideally takes place in a "shared space" where attempts are made to address unequal power relations between those belonging to majority/minority groups. The aim of an intercultural exchange is transformative of all those participating and can result in, for example,  the creation of new or hybrid cultural expressions/forms, new image constructions, changed behaviour patterns etc.

The Compendium Addresses Intercultural Dialogue:

In Fall 2011, WorldCP, the prototype of a new global information system based on the Compendium methodology, has been launched by IFACCA. The platform improves chances for a "South-North" dialogue on cultural policy issues. The Council of Europe and the ERICarts Institute as well as other regional stakeholders (e.g. ASEF) participated in its further development. The last meeting of the WorldCP International Working Group was held October 2016 in Malta.

In 2010/2011, the "Intercultural Cities Index" is integrated into the Compendium; it is based on a joint programme of the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

In 2009, the "Open Compendium" initiative is continued with the preparation of country profiles following the Compendium model in 8 Arab countries/territories, thanks to the support of the European Cultural Foundation and some of the Compendium experts.

In  2008, the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue was launched by the EU in Ljubljana/Slovenia and the Council of Europe published its White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue. The 10th Annual Compendium Author's Meeting was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from the 4-5 December 2008 to address the theme of intercultural dialogue with guests from ISESCO. Prior to the Author's Meeting, the first  Ministerial Conference on Intercultural Dialogue was held and resulted in the Baku Declaration for the Promotion of Intercultural Dialogue.

In 2007, the information and case studies provided in the Compendium played an important role in the preparation of a comparative study: Sharing Diversity: National Approaches to Intercultural Dialogue in Europe, prepared by the ERICarts Institute for the European Commission. Many Compendium authors participated in the project as national correspondents. Robert Palmer, Council of Europe  advised the study as a  special expert.

In 2006, the issue of intercultural dialogue was integrated throughout the Compendium grid including information on national policies and strategies demonstrating how intercultural dialogue is promoted among different cultures both within a country (chapter 4.2.7) and across borders (chapter 3.4.5) as well as information on intercultural education strategies (chapter 8.3.3). New cases of good practice were collected and made available in an online database.

In 2005, Compendium authors applied some of the indicators suggested by the Working Group. The preliminary results were compiled in experimental tables together with the results of a survey on good practise carried out in the same year by the Council of Europe's project group on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention.

In 2004, the Compendium Working Group on Cultural Diversity, Intercultural Dialogue and Social Cohesion, prepared an overview paper highlighting those sections of the Compendium methodological grid where additional indicators could be added and where relevant information on existing policies, programmes and good practice could be collected.

In 2003, the Conference of the European Ministers of Culture asked the Compendium Community - via its Opatjia Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention - to study the means to collect and disseminate information on intercultural dialogue and good governance in cultural policy.

In 2002, research on the development of indicators to collect information on policies addressing intercultural dialogue began.  This initial work was supported in part by a grant from the European Cultural Foundation.